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December NPD Number Crunch: Xbox One maintains sales lead, but PS4 still top console of 2014

5 comments Leo Chan - 10:52am (PST) Like Share

Microsoft's $50 price cut proved to be a pretty good idea, and it's still running

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It's a holly jolly Christmas for Microsoft as the console giant confirmed earlier today that its Xbox One managed to keep hold of the title of best-selling console hardware at U.S. retail for the second month in a row. The company also boasted that Xbox One outsold the Xbox 360 by 50 percent on a weekly basis throughout the final two months of calendar year 2014.

No doubt Microsoft's generous $50 price cut on the Xbox One which was originally launched as a holiday promotion and will now continue to apply (starting today) played a key part in ensuring it remained the top selling console during the lucrative holiday shopping season.

While the Xbox One retained its throne as top seller of the month in December, Sony reminds us that the PlayStation4 was still the better selling console of 2014 overall not only in the U.S., but on a global basis as well. The electronics and console giant reiterates that PS4 hardware sales are sitting at 18.5 million units after 14 months in the market; the holiday 2014 sales period alone accounted for at least 4.1 million of the total.

Nintendo confirmed the Wii U enjoyed its best December on record yet, with hardware sales growing 29 percent from last year. Wii U software sales meanwhile jumped 75 percent year-over-year.

To be sure, the industry as whole didn't exactly explode during December 2014, with overall sales barely slipping to $3.25 billion USD compared to the $3.28 billion earned back in the end of 2013. Even hardware sales saw a four percent year-over-year decline to $1.31 billion, and monthly (physical) software sales similarly fell 2 percent to $1.25 billion.

As you'll see, the software top ten for the final calendar month of 2014 was dominated by multiplatform titles, though the latest one-two Super Smash Bros. punch was technically only available on Nintendo platforms. NPD notes that the Xbox One versions of multiplatform titles outsold their PS4 equivalent in nearly every case except for Far Cry 4.

December 2014 Top Ten Software Sales
  Game Publisher Platform Release
1. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Activision PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 11/2014
2. Grand Theft Auto V Rockstar PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 11/2014
3. Madden NFL 15 Electronic Arts PS4 / PS3 / Xbox One / Xbox 360 08/2014
4. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS / Wii U Nintendo 3DS / Wii U 11/2014
5. NBA 2K15 2K Games PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 10/2014
6. Minecraft 4J Studios PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 11/2014
7. Far Cry 4 Ubisoft PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 11/2014
8. Just Dance 2015 Ubisoft PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / Wii U / Wii 11/2014
9. Destiny Activision PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 09/2014
10. FIFA 15 Electronic Arts PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / Wii / 3DS / Vita 09/2014



Sony postpones PS4, Vita launch in China, with no new dates in sight

6 comments Leo Chan - 10:58am (PST) Like Share

Update PSN attacks not reason behind decision to delay Chinese launch

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Update 2015-01-09: The recent cyberattack against Sony Pictures as well as the new round of DDoS attacks against the PlayStation Network over the holiday season did not prove to be factors in Sony's last-minute announcement to postpone the PS4 and Vita launch in China. Sony Computer Entertainment president Andrew House explains to the Wall Street Journal earlier today that it ultimately came down to a request from Chinese authorities to "make an adjustment to the business plan."

While House was understandly disappointed with this development, he stresses that the launch delay in China should not impact Sony's global sales forecast of the PS4 for the current year.

Original article:

Sony confirms it has pulled the plug on launching its PlayStation 4 and Vita in (mainland) China until further notice. Even pre-orders for hardware have been halted. The news comes just ahead of the originally scheduled January 11th launch date for both devices in the new market.

So far it appears this sudden change of plans is a result of "prolonged negotiations with Chinese authorities." As you probably know, China's Ministry of Culture has been the major speedbump in the long road to officially launching consoles in the country thanks to censorship guidelines. While the Chinese ban on console gaming finally lifted last year (at least for Shanghai's free trade zone), all gaming titles must still be approved by the Ministry of Culture before they can be deemed fit for release.

The electronics and console giant has yet to confirm a new launch date for both the PS4 and Vita in China. Pricing of the PS4 in China would have been around 2,899 yuan (~$466 USD), and at least seven titles were originally planned for this weekend's launch including LittleBigPlanet 3, Driveclub, and Final Fantasy X/X2 HD Remake. The PS Vita meanwhile was to be priced at 1,299 yuan (~$209).


November NPD Number Crunch: Xbox One outsells PS4 for the first time since last December

3 comments Leo Chan - 6:01pm (PST) Like Share (2)

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare tops charts, while GTAV returns to the top ten

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Despite November witnessing the official launch of several major gaming titles across all platforms, the NPD Group earlier today confirms that industry sales in the U.S. still ended up falling 11 percent year-over-year to $2.41 billion USD. What's more, November 2014 marked the first time since the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles that hardware sales actually fell ($1.10 billion compared to $1.31 billion in November 2013). On the plus side, monthly software sales didn't suffer from a similarly drastic drop for a change, sliding just one percent year-over-year to $1.09 billion.

Now the part you're probably more interested in: did the Xbox One manage to beat the PS4 in sales last month like Microsoft boasted? While NPD's monthly report card failed to provide unit sales numbers as usual, Microsoft already announced that the Xbox One managed to reclaim the crown for best-selling console hardware in both the U.S. and U.K. during November. The Xbox One will ring in a fine anniversary for the last time it outsold the PS4, assuming the console can keep the momentum through this December. MIcrosoft also confirms that Xbox One software outsold those for the PS4 in November, making for a record-setting month for the number of Xbox Live users.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare perhaps predictably topped the industry charts on the software front for November, though interestingly the best-selling platform for Activision's latest CoD entry would prove to be the Xbox 360. Grand Theft Auto V also makes a triumphant return to the NPD software top ten thanks to the high-definition re-release of Rockstar's record-setting game on PS4 and Xbox One, with the PS4 version selling the best.

Nintendo also made a fine showing for itself with no less than three titles on the NPD software top ten. You'll never ever guess what their bestselling game in November was (honest!), but you may be interested to learn that Pokemon Alpha Sapphire was the better selling Generation VI game, outpacing even Ubisoft's Far Cry 4. Guess you can't have too much water in Hoenn after all. Speaking of Ubisoft, Assassin's Creed: Unity still managed to land in ninth place in spite of its technical woes.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection meanwhile barely squeezed into the charts, highlighting another platform exclusive title which managed to make NPD's software top ten.


November 2014 Top Ten Software Sales
  Game Publisher Platform Release
1. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Activision PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 11/2014
2. Grand Theft Auto V Rockstar PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 11/2014
3. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Nintendo Wii U 11/2014
4. Madden NFL 15 Electronic Arts PS4 / PS3 / Xbox One / Xbox 360 08/2014
5. Pokémon Alpha Sapphire Nintendo 3DS 11/2014
6. Far Cry 4 Ubisoft PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 11/2014
7. Pokémon Omega Ruby Nintendo 3DS 11/2014
8. NBA 2K15 2K Games PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 10/2014
9. Assassin's Creed: Unity Ubisoft PS4 / Xbox One / PC 11/2014
10. Halo: The Master Chief Collection Microsoft Game Studios Xbox One 11/2014



Philips reaches licensing agreement with Nintendo, resolving patent dispute

8 comments Leo Chan - 10:56am (PST) Like Share

Lawsuits across four regions terminated as a result of reaching settlement

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Philips Electronics confirms it is no longer embroiled in a patent infringement dispute with Nintendo over the motion and gesture-tracking tech in the console giant's gaming hardware like the Wii and Wii U. The Danish technology company has reached an agreement with Nintendo today where both companies will henceforth cross license each other's patent portfolios.

While Philips did not reveal any financial details concerning its settlement, the company will drop patent infringement proceedings against Nintendo not only in Britain where it had already won its patent infringement case back in June, but Germany, France, and the U.S. as well. Indeed, this represents all four jurisdictions where Philips had previously filed complaints against Nintendo.


Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire sell over 3 million copies over 3 days

23 comments Leo Chan - 11:12am (PST) Like (2) Share

Not quite Pokemon X & Y's levels, but Europe hasn't hit the new Hoenn train... yet

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In case there was any doubt at this point in Pokemon's life, Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire sold pretty darn well right out of the gates. Nintendo confirms that Game Freak's latest pair of Pokemon titles for the 3DS achieved sales of over 3 million units across the U.S., Japan, Australia and South Korea.

Japanese sales accounted for roughly half the combined total at 1,534,593 units, with the three global regions making up the current remainder over the course of three days (Nov. 21st to 23rd). Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are officially the fourth set of 3DS titles that scored launch weekend sales of over one million units in Japan, joining the esteemed ranks of Monster Hunter 4, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, and... Pokemon X and Y.

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire's launch weekend sales unfortunately didn't quite reach the record-setting levels of Pokemon X and Y back when they hit last year, but it's worth noting that this year's flagship Pokemon entries have yet to launch in Europe.


October NPD Number Crunch: PS4, Xbox One annual sales over 70 percent higher than PS3, 360 totals

7 comments Leo Chan - 5:55pm (PST) Like Share

The Evil Within sets a new first-month milestone for survival horror games

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There's no spooky Halloween surprise for the gaming indusrty last month, as the NPD Group confirms US retail sales slid less than a single percentage year-over-year to $790.7 million USD. PS4 and Xbox One hardware continue to comprise the bulk of monthly sales in October, growing a whopping 59 percent over the previous year to $273.6 million.

You'll note that it will soon be a year since the PS4 and Xbox One launched in North America, meaning October 2014's report will be the last before both consoles will start getting annual performance comparisons. In the meantime, the PS4 and Xbox One will rest easy knowing they never managed to fall below PS3 and Xbox 360 sales during their first year on the market. Indeed, NPD confirms that the combined first year sales for the PS4 and Xbox One were 70 percent higher than those for the PS3 and 360.

While Sony claims retail hardware sales mastery again for the month of October with the PS4, Microsoft yesterday boasted how the Xbox One has been outselling its next-gen rival for the past two weeks in the US thanks to the console's recent limited-time price cut.

While monthly (physical retail) software sales continued to disappoint by sliding 28 percent to $350.3 million on account of Grand Theft Auto V's continued show-stealing performance at retail last October. That said, NPD's software top ten enjoyed an excellent showing from actual new releases with 2K's NBA 2K15 taking top honors. The 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. has already done Nintendo proud with worldwide sales of 2.8 million units just days after the North American launch, but admittedly the bulk of US sales had already occured during NPD's September reporting period. Meanwhile, The Evil Within's third place finish which has been hailed by NPD as the best first-month showing yet for a survival horror IP (and an all-new one to boot).

October 2014 Top Ten Software Sales
  Game Publisher Platform Release
1. NBA 2K15 2K Games PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 10/2014
2. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS Nintendo 3DS 10/2014
3. The Evil Within Bethesda Softworks PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 10/2014
4. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel 2K Games PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 10/2014
5. Destiny Activision PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 09/2014
6. Skylanders: Trap Team Activision PS4 / Xbox One / Wii U / PS3 / Xbox 360 / Wii / 3DS 10/2014
7. FIFA 15 Electronic Arts PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / Wii / Vita / 3DS 09/2014
8. Madden NFL 15 Electronic Arts PS4 / PS3 / Xbox One / Xbox 360 08/2014
9. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment PS4 / Xbox One / PC 09/2014
10. Minecraft Microsoft Game Studios / Sony Computer Entertainment PS4 / PS3 / Xbox 360 05/2014

Beautiful CPU friendship blooms on the battlefield in Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart

5 comments Leo Chan - 3:09pm (PST) Like Share

Gamarket is in danger, let the parodies commence

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Soon all the Hyperdimension Neptunia fans outside of Japan will be able to realize their dark dreams of dancing to the tune of Lastation's Noire, as Idea Factory confirms Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart for PlayStation Vita will be making its way to North America and Europe in early 2015.

Previously released in Japan back in May, Hyperdevotion Noire is a strategy RPG spinoff of Compile Heart's Hyperdimension Neptunia series. In addition to the four hallmark CPU (Console Patron Unit) characters from the main Hyperdimension games, you'll be able to recruit 18 brand new characters designed as parodies of game franchises like Street Fighter, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Monster Hunter.

Now it wouldn't be a hyperdimension game without a list of equally hyperdimensional features... like having your characters kiss each other (on the cheek) during battle to unleash their ultra-special powers.

The "Lily" system encourages you to develop bonds between characters during battle, and the stronger the bonds, the more powerful your party can be activating Lily Boosts and Lily Points with a kiss.

Key Features 

A Moe Army Awaits! You ain't never seen the CPUs like this! Lead them in their first-ever foray into strategy RPG gameplay, taking on enemies in a whole new way. You'll fight off hordes of enemies in turn-based strategy, dodging laser beams and flaming pits, and using dangerous environments against your enemy.  

Link up with the "Lily System" The more often characters are in battle together, the higher their bond becomes. Activating the "Lily Boost" grants special stats and abilities, while "Lily Points" can be used to activate ultra-special moves and even goddess transformations. Don't be shy to build up those battle relationships and seal it all with a kiss! 

Check your Status! All kinds of funky things can happen in the heat of battle and characters can be hit with status ailments that are both boon and burden. You can get pixelated, zombie-fied, or even turned into a block of tofu! Some status changes come with their own benefit and cost, so keep this in mind during a fight. 

Item Customization! You'll get tons of replay value with so many ways to boost your gear's stats! The more enemies you defeat, the more items you can get to customize your gear in whatever way you see fit. Let the great experiment begin! 

Livin' the Noire Life! Life's not all about grid-based battles. Sometimes Noire just wants to relax at home, and with the "Sim Noire" mode you'll be able to do just that! Customize the place by buying furniture and accessories with in-game points, and make Noire feel like the goddess she is. She'll also get to go out with friends and build up her social level!

Click here to see more images

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS sells a million copies during first week in Japan

14 comments Leo Chan - 12:18pm (PST) Like Share

The Smash is strong even on handheld

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Nintendo confirms that Super Smash Bros. for 3DS has already reached a sales milestone of one million units during its first week on the market in Japan. This figure includes both physical retail sales and digital downloads, meaning Smash Bros. on 3DS technically hasn't sold through Nintendo's entire shipment to Japanese retailers just yet.

Nevertheless this puts the new Smash Bros. in seriously good company alongside other first-week million sellers on 3DS in Japan like Pokemon X/Y, Capcom's Monster Hunter 4 and Level-5's Yokai Watch 2. Whether or not this sets the stage for the bar to be raised even higher outside of Japan remains to be seen; the handheld version of the game remains on track for an October 3rd launch across North America and Europe.

Nintendo is currently offering a demo for Smash Bros. on the 3DS eShop for Platinum-level Club Nintendo members, with the floodgates opening for everyone this Sept. 19th.

The Wii U version of the anticipated follow-up to Nintendo's Smash Bros. series meanwhile does not yet have a firm release date this year, but it will also be interesting to see if Super Smash Bros. for Wii U can reach similar heights in light of Mario Kart 8's relative success. Will the Smash Bros. hype last through this holiday season?


Nintendo mum on Super Smash Bros. 3DS roster leaks

83 comments Leo Chan - 11:33am (PST) Like (1) Share

Prepare for spoilers, if there is indeed any kernel of truth to the unknown

The official launch of Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is a little over a month away, and some very daring mystery men have been upping the intensity of their Fiend's Scale with appear to be leaks from the upcoming handheld version of the game, including a shot of the full roster. They're even bringing out the shakycam video showcasing as-of-yet-unannounced characters like Bowser Jr. and Ganondorf.

More leaked images also suggest the return of old hands like Wario (as rumored earlier), as well as more newcomers like the freakin' Dog from Duck Hunt and Shulk from Xenoblade Chronicles. Seriously, Shulk has been a rumored character since forever.

These purported leaks certainly count as spoilers, and Nintendo usually doesn't take very kindly to them as demonstrated by their friendly visit to an Instagram leaker during the Pokemon X and Y launch. For the time being however, Nintendo will only say that it has nothing else to announce at this time, oh and please visit the Smash Bros. site for the currently known roster of characters.

Update: Leaked videos have since been removed from YouTube.


Test your game soundtrack repertoire with the Super Smash Bros. for 3DS lineup of composers

18 comments Leo Chan - 3:57pm (PST) Like Share

Edwin 503 Double Knee Shoe Cut jeans confirmed for Smash

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Nintendo released a list of music composers who will be contributing tracks to the upcoming 3DS version of Super Smash Bros., and it looks like producer Masahiro Sakurai is keeping some fine company. In addition to Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka of Metroid and Earthbound fame lending tunes, the 3DS list includes many other esteemed names from across the Japanese industry, not least of these being Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono series, Xenogears) and Yoko Shimomura (Super Mario RPG, Kingdom Hearts, Mario & Luigi series, Final Fantasy XV).

The list arrives just after word from Sakurai himself that tracks from the 3DS version's Sound collection (sound test) will run even when the handheld itself is in Sleep mode (i.e. clamshell closed), while the L/R shoulder buttons can be used to navigate tracks. We'll have to wait until this October 3rd to hear these tracks for ourselves, and how the following artists got to bring what classic tunes to life in their own way.

Musicians of Nintendo 3DS version
Artist Main Compositions
ACE (TOMOri Kudo / CHiCO) Xenoblade Chronicles
Music for "ONE PIECE exhibition" under the editorship of Eiichiro Oda
Masato Coda (designwave Co., Ltd.) Monster Hunter series
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
Masashi Hamauzu Final Fantasy XIII
Saga Frontier II
Kenji Ito Romancing SaGa series
Puzzle & Dragons
Noriyuki Iwadare Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies
Shota Kageyama Pokémon X and Pokémon Y
Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version
Yuzo Koshiro (Ancient-corp.) Etrian Odyssey
Wangan Midnight: Maximum Tune
Inazuma Eleven
Michiko Naruke (Naru2 Co., Ltd.) Wild Arms
Nora to Toki no Kōbō: Kiri no Mori no Majo
Keiichi Okabe (MONACA) NieR Replicant / Gestalt
TEKKEN series
Hideki Sakamoto (noisycroak Co., Ltd.​) Toukiden
Tetsuya Shibata (Unique Note Co., Ltd.) Devil May Cry 2, 3, 4
Merc Storia
Yoko Shimomura Kingdom Hearts series
Mario & Luigi RPG series
Masafumi Takada (Sound Prestige LLC) Danganronpa series
Earth Defense Force series
Yusuke Takahama (TARGET ENTERTAINMENT INC.) Digital Pinball: Last Gladiators
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Hirokazu Tanaka Metroid
Dr. Mario
Ragnarok Odyssey series
Nobuko Toda (FILM SCORE LLC) Metal Gear Solid 4
Shohei Tsuchiya (TAITO / ZUNTATA) DARIUSBURST series
Atsuko Asahi (Nintendo) Mario Kart 8
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Daisuke Matsuoka (Nintendo) StreetPass: Find Mii series
Tomodachi Life
Toru Minegishi (Nintendo) The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Wii Fit
Ryo Nagamatsu (Nintendo) Nintendo Land
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Mahito Yokota (Nintendo) Super Mario Galaxy 1&2
Super Mario 3D World
Keiki Kobayashi (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.) ACE COMBAT series
Rio Hamamoto (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.) TEKKEN series
Hiroki Hashimoto (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.) TANK! TANK! TANK!
Yoshinori Hirai (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.) Taiko: Drum Master series
Taku Inoue (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.) TEKKEN series
Jesahm (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.) Donkey Konga series
Saki Kasuga (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.) Fire Emblem series
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Hiroyuki Kawada (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.) Walküre series
Shadow Land
LindaAI-CUE (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.) Taiko: Drum Master series
Tokyo Wars
Yuji Masubuchi (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.) Taiko: Drum Master series
Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil
Junichi Nakatsuru (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.) SOULCALIBUR series
Katsuro Tajima (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.) SPLATTERHOUSE
Katamari Damacy
Torine (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.) Taiko:Drum Master series
Ryo Watanabe (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.) RIDGE RACER series
Yoshihito Yano (BANDAI NAMCO Studios Inc.) Katamari Damacy series